Home High Strangeness with Train to the End of the World Vol. 4

High Strangeness with Train to the End of the World Vol. 4

For the last time, once again, welcome High Strangeness with Train to the End of the World! Our beloved oddity-filled anime is over. And, it proves everything can be solved with the power of friendship and a sprinkling of violence. A lot has happened since we last huddled in this corner of the internet; there were pigs and magical girls, and over a year has elapsed in the story’s world. With Ikebukuro conquered, Yoka reunited with the girl, and the world still wonky, we’re left asking, ‘What did we just watch?’

7G, the new Psilocybin!

There were zombies, human-animal hybrids, panty shots, and self-deletion mushrooms. And, at the end of it all, even when Yoka returned, things were still wonky, but why? That’s always the big question: “Why are humans, not deer?” “But why?”

At the end of the day, a person with paraplegia and the right mindset can trek Mount Everest. But a gym bro who’s swole to the bone and afraid of nature can’t even make it to base camp. Your mental state gets you farther than your physical state. And it just so happens that when Yoka pushed 7G into existence, her mental state was crap.

With a mental state as steady as Rudy’s fidelity and her knowledge of the world limited to the communities along the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, it formed a perfect cluster f(de-monetizable word)k. And as Yoka was forced to close herself off to the world, the fever dream of a world she brought into existence also closed itself off.

Train to the End of the World: World-Building at its Finest

The thing with fantasy worlds is that they’re just that—fantasy. Fantasy is usually reserved for those lucky few who get plowed into oblivion by a truck that identifies as a Lamborghini. But, in Train to the End of the World, there was no fantasy; Truck-kun was nowhere to be seen. Everything that happened here is part of Earth proper. All the weird and wild happenings were exclusively due to human intervention. And everything in the show was, to some extent, part of daily life, the past, or fictional earthly experiences.

Be it a town reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or a magical girl show, it’s outlandish but far from far-fetched. Human/animal hybrids? Setting aside the science behind them, they have always existed in the human psyche. Talking and moving plants? Cryptobotany has everything from man-eaters to dancing trees. And all those oddities are blended perfectly into some of the most beautiful scenery shots of the spring 2024 season. Seeing as how Laid Back Camp aired alongside this, yet shots of the landscapes in Train to the End of the World were common fixtures in anime pages, you know it was something well done.

You Won’t Know What You Just Watched, But Watch It Anyways

What leads to a life of adventure? The will to have it? Maybe it’s as simple as having the appropriate funds and time. No, if that were the case, any person with wanderlust, money, and time could see sights unseen. Yet, for the millions of people who have all those things, very few of them can claim to see sights truly unseen.

Why? Because really seeing the strangeness of it all is like petting a cat. You may want to do it; there may be a cat close to you, but if that cat ain’t having it, you might as well be on Mars. For you to really see the odd, the odd has to want to see you. And that’s something no amount of money and hard work gets you.

Train to the End of the World gets this. The things in the show happen by mutual choice, not by coincidence or because of truck-related activity. Four girls set off with wanton disregard for the dangers that the unknown brings and that the unknown delivers.

With a voice cast that was on point and relationship dynamics that were so believable that most of us have, at one point or another, lived through them. Train to the End of the World is a show that, in spite of being so strange, is so welcoming. But, most importantly, it’s a show that depicts a simple reality that most don’t want to accept, but in this writer’s opinion, is one that needs to be wholeheartedly spoken about. There’s a reason why mental health issues are at an all-time high; part of it is the downfalls of success. We’re told that hard work always pays off, and when we succeed, that’s going to be fulfilling.

Yet, that’s not true; millions of people put an ungodly amount of effort into their dreams, and it never happens. Likewise, millions accomplished it, only to realize that it brought no real joy. Then they blame themselves. It becomes a matter of “I didn’t try enough” or “What’s wrong with me? I should be grateful.” And those are two things that spiral hard. But Train to the End of the World shows that you can put a herculean amount of effort into something, and things may not fully work out. While the girls manage to rescue Yoka, their effort to return the world to normal fails, as aberrations are still plentiful.

So nonsensical was the whole ordeal that even we as viewers were as confused as the protagonists when they had to deal with all the high strangeness of the world. The show was extravagant, outlandish, and a proper punch to the senses—all things anime should be.

Screenshots via Crunchyroll
© apogeego / Shumatsu Train Doko he Iku? Production Committee

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